Too little poetic justice

By Raffique Shah
May 10, 2021

Raffique ShahThere are times when I feel ashamed of being Trinidadian. On such occasions, I feel almost like a traitor, having to admit that some of my countrymen are bringing shame and disgrace to our otherwise proud nation.

As the Covid-19 numbers exploded last week from single-digit in­creases to 300-plus daily confirmed cases, hospital beds were occupied at dizzying rates while deaths rose from modest to uncomfortable levels, I felt personally defeated.

What compounded my mix of emotions was the fact that it didn’t have to come to this. We were almost home dry, as some would say, when the walls of Jericho came crashing around us, thanks to the must-hug, must-kiss clowns among us.

To those who took us there, who by their gross irresponsibility in their daily lives, their reckless disregard for the lives of others, I ask, how can you live with your conscience, if you have one, knowing the suffering, the pain, the grief you have inflicted on other human beings?

Let’s be realistic here: you are no different to the gun-wielding bandits who rob hard-working citi­zens of their possessions. You are guilty of murder of one degree or other, by casually infecting others with the deadly virus, leaving them to die like dogs, agony writ deep on their faces, the cold hands of death denying them the commonest element of life: oxygen.

As the crisis turned south, as we sought to blame Venezuelans for our dance with death, stories emerged of grandchildren, intent on having a good time, often with money directly or indirectly bestowed on them by the very doting grandpas and grandmas whose lives they were about to terminate.

One young man, I was told, kept the rum shop his grandparents had funded open throughout the pandemic, which became the source of the virus that stung members of his household and others in the community who patronised the bar. Nani, nana, aunty, bhai, bhowgie—every man, woman and dog ending up sick, occupying expensive hospital beds.

I watched with anger seething in my system as journalists interviewed those who swarmed the beaches and other recreational facilities on Easter weekend, their senses seemingly in stupor, numbed by alcohol or sea breeze, or maybe both, as they ignored Covid regulations, morosely muttering, “We having a good time.”

When Government imposed the second “lockdown” and banned the sale of foods at posh restaurants and wayside vendors to prevent patrons from congregating around them, I could not believe what I saw: thousands of hungry Trinis congregating at every corner, intent on eating every morsel of crap food they could stuff into their mouths.

In other words, those fools were celebrating the prohibition of congregating with massive congregations!

Stupid me, I asked myself: don’t these people cook food in their homes? Clearly, they do not know how easily someone with basic culinary skills can whip up sada roti and tasty-if-not-nutritious “fried aloo” sandwiches that Indian schoolchildren of my gene­ration kept in our pants pockets as lunch daily, and I mean daily, because it was literally fast food before that label was applied to today’s expensive downgrades that are all people seem to eat.

In our day, for variety, we often exchanged lunch with our Afro friends for their hops-and-cheese sandwiches. Or sometimes, we enjoyed a delicious fried-­plantain-in-sada treat that we similarly shared. Obviously, today’s children know nothing of such grassroots foods.

But I digress: I have more fire to direct at the irresponsible clowns in our midst who, driven by their selfish desires, overcome by their weaknesses, put us all in danger from the deadly virus. These excu­ses for human beings cannot even endure confinement to their homes for the greater good of their country.

I feel compelled to ask: what would they do if ever they were called upon to take up arms to defend the nation against some foreign invader? I can only speculate that they would run and hide and cry long tears, cowards that they are.

And, please, you apologists for citizens by birth or boat who have neither the conviction nor the character to lay claim to patri­otism, don’t add insult to injury by telling me about man being a social animal who must fraternise, must be close to other human beings for their survival. Hogwash.

Better you tell me they must be inebriated, they must lose their inhibitions through consumption or inhalation of mind-altering substances before they can be men.

My only consolation as I see my country face some very turbulent times that we need not have done, had there been real men in our ranks, is that some of these open-the-borders, free-up-the rum-shops, leh-we-hug-and-wine-away-Covid types in this phase of the pandemic, some of them, but all too few, are coming face-to-cowardly-face with a phenomenon called poetic justice…retribution for their actions that dumped us in this mess.

Sadly, poetic injustices abound: too many innocent people are suffering for the sins of the cowards.

9 thoughts on “Too little poetic justice”

  1. Raffique Shah presents here a very simplistic view of the Covid crisis in T&T attributing blame primarily to the negligent citizens of the country. He utilizes the same crudity as the Prime Minister himself to chastise citizens for the deadly spread of the virus. No one can deny that the irresponsible behavior of some citizens might have had disastrous results, but the failures of the government and the opposition cannot be ignored and probably contributed to the poor attitudes. When are leaders going to realize that insulting and berating do not win over people? Performance does. On this file the government failed to perform.
    From the very beginning the perpetual, arrogant boasting of the Minister of Health who prematurely positioned himself as an expert, falsely presented T&T as one of the best countries in the world with regard to the management of the Covid crisis. The statistics to make his case were based on a totally false premise. T&T had no testing protocols, was unaware of existing cases and therefore could not accurately report. The country was locked down and borders were closed to everyone, nationals included. There were no plans to deal with the economic effects on workers or businesses. There were no plans regarding the future of nationals trapped overseas, many of whom were resorting to homeless shelters in foreign capitals.
    Meanwhile illegal immigrants were entering the country through numerous points of entry and were being allowed to stay. The registration process motivated more refugees to make their way to the shores of T&T while nationals begged to return. Eventually reliable and valid data demonstrated that illegal immigration was responsible for the Brazilian variant which is now repeating havoc. The Health Minister denied this charge while other officials validated it. Ironically there is no evidence to prove that the virus was being spread by returning nationals even though the testing and quarantine protocols were faulty.
    While most countries, including Barbados, were busy negotiating very early for an adequate vaccine supply, T&T was whistling in the wind, unable to figure out that dependence on the WHO Covax supply was risky. Later the PM boasted that he does not “beg” in response to vaccine acquisition from India, setting up conflict with the Indian ambassador. The Minister of Health meanwhile was caught in some sort of vaccine acquisition conspiracy with the private sector playing a feature role. The end result was that T&T became one of the last countries in the world to begin a vaccination program and even now the vaccine supply is inadequate. Many poorer countries in the region have already vaccinated many of their citizens and are restarting their tourism.
    The country is now partially locked own. The government had to make corrections along the way, making it look quite irrational. For example, one day Price mart is closed. The next day it is allowed to reopen. Other businesses which are susceptible to crowd gathering are allowed to operate.
    The Easter weekend seemed to be the driving force behind the spike in cases. The PM himself encouraged the mass migration to Tobago, initiating another great spike in cases. After contracting the virus himself, the PM questionably claims that he “did not know how he got it”. Thirty five of his contacts had to be mysteriously quarantined. The AG was caught not wearing a mask at a public event.
    Example is leadership.

  2. When Savarakh penned the Hindutva doctrine in 1923, he never envisioned that 98yrs later Hindu nationalism, would be front and center of International negativism, yes, a people, a GREAT one at that, have all right to recognition, but not at the expense of all. A beautiful and complex people, are presently the laughing stock of World intelligence, The year 2023, was to be the GALA, yes, a hundred years of pontificating a belief of Division. From the richest state of Maharashtra to the plains of Caroni, (filthy) Lucre has become the downfall of the SUPPER Spreaders, this is what “every creed and race find their equal place ” means in the true sense, not Nation building. Attending the MANDELA funeral, KAMLA pB showed the World through the colors of her atire, who she was representing, and it was definitely not T&T, her message went to the International HINDUTVA hood, it is no coincidence that the former Indentures of the Maldives embrace the very colors of the UNC. History tells us that God have plans and man also have his/her own plans, the Spiritual eyes are the only ones that can really differentiate the ILLS of what Trinidad is presently experiencing. Trinidadians, don’t like to hurt each other feelings by calling them out in their wrong doings, to be truthful, a vast number of UNC supporters, the political party of DILLUSION and DECEPTION, practically refused to wear the face mask during the last election, some marched on the streets maskless for all to see, together with their Un-educated and mis-directed African ENHANCERS, have plunge the Nation of Trinidad in a terrifying stench stilled Covid WATERS. Some in Trinidad, would rather have a ONE party State, than having the UNC, this RECALCITRANT political group of HINDU nationalist, stands for nothin that will better the whole, the MANTRA is all about what about WE. Today, the UNC have contributed to destroying the OIL industry so they can be in control, refusing payments to the NIB continue to put workers in abject peril, UNC employers have stopped paying workers OVER time pay, giving instead a KENTUCKY chit. In the years to come, the UNC will be the first to cry foul when retiring workers starts calling for benefits, a ticking time bomb is about to explode. Most in our midst turn a blind eye to enablers of WE time now, at their own peril. Covid-19 have turned out to be the RICH Indians death and the poor mans burden, apparently the poor of India, like Trinidad, have been resilient towards the VIRUS. Inequality in India, like Trinidad, is at a 95 year high and as ostriches the head is deep into the ever moving sand. UNC Hindutva will continue to have it’s say, until the CREOLES take control, it’s all in the MIX. The way things are heading, COLM IMBERT stands a better chance of LEADER of TRINIDAD, than any of the POTHONGS of the UNC, time will surely tell.

  3. The heavy investment by the Chinese government into Trinidad has created a “quid pro quo” situation. The Chinese as clever as they are, know that dealing with African people is easy business for them.

    Rowley did not want the vaccines from India because of clauses in loan agreements that require the purchase of the questionable Sinopharm vaccines from the Chinese. So he made a public appearance where he declared that he is not prepared to beg for vaccines from India. So far he has written Biden twice asking for vaccines.

    The Syrians are watching their influence over the PNM diminish as the Chinese with the biggest embassy in the Caribbean suitably located in Trinidad continues to wine and dine the PNM. The Chinese are involved in casino gambling hauling away millions, they are also involved in importing young Vene girls as businessmen are prepared to pay high prices for the weekly influx of attractive senoritas. This is known by the Rowley administration but they are “impotent” to do anything.

    As for the spread of the virus, the PM invited 50,000 Trinis to come to Tobago, to buss a lime. Boom the virus exploded. A father and son died after the son contracted the virus in the workplace. He was not partying it is simply a case of transmission. I know a prison officer and his wife who got the virus. Not partying just workplace risk.

    Some practical things you can do to protect yourself. (1) wash your nasal passages each night with saline. Or boil lime/orange peel with salt and inhale the vapours. (2) sip hot liquid every 15 minutes, it will wash the virus down to the stomach where it dies.(assume you have the virus) (3) Drink fever grass tea (4) Alcaline your body. Cut a slice of lemon (not lime) and put it in a glass of hot water. Drink first thing in the morning. Acidic body heals slower. (5) At the first glimpse of the virus sneezing etc. Boil water, put some salt in it and squeeze half a lime, in a glass, sip slowly. (6) Drink massala tea or turmeric and ginger with honey tea before going to bed.
    (7) Pray everyday.
    Disclaimer: This advice is that merely advice. It may or may not stop the virus. The safest thing to do is stay home and wash all groceries.

  4. Ahhhhhhh Mr. Cropper, finally someone picked up on the hindutva colours that the unc has been dogwhistling with all these years and the african mascots who support that party are clueless about.That insidiously exploitative practice of indian merchants forcefully paying africans with food instead of cash when their paycheck is due, caused major protests in south africa in recent years and its occurence in trinidad is NOT a coincidence. Also, notice that the UNC-IRO chose to invite guess who of south africa near the election orbit of 2014?

  5. One of the best Sports Minister TnT had was Anil Roberts. He made a brave effort to use sports to assist young black boys and pull them away from a life of crime.

    Mr. Roberts was instrumental in getting the Aquatic Center which has been utilized by foreign teams for training. The cycling velodrome, the Tagarigua Tennis Center, and other achievements. His detractors would blame him for Lifesport which was attacked by Newsday with articles over 21 times. There was an investigation but he was cleared of any wrong doing. Yet PNMites continue to talk about $400 million Lifesport whilst ignoring Lara Stadium which was suppose to cost less than $300 million but went up to $1.6 billion under the PNM. Imbert wife getting $19 million to power wash the stadium. They don’t talk about that at all….

  6. Raffique really losing it. When was the last time anyone had to take up arms to defend Trinidad from a foreign invader?
    Once a toy soldier always a toy soldier.
    On the plus side, occasionally he is entertaining.

    1. Would you have preferred he called for pooja instead?. From day 1 of the pandemic, the indian political establishment (UNC) and its supporters, has been to politically, commercially and legally counteract every single directive of the T&T government and the PM regarding management of the pandemic. UNC loyalist lawyers have been publicly counseling citizens and illegal immigrants alike, on how best to be hostile and recalcitrant towards the government’s management of the pandemic.

      Kamla’s shaky Covid-climate connection | Letters to Editor |

      Reckless and insulting | Editorial |

      1. Quit grasping at straws and face up to the failures of the government and the grandstanding of the Opposition.
        When he called for a day of prayer, I am assuming that he was referring to prayers in every religion. If a pooja is considered as prayers, then so be it.
        My approach to the universe and its peoples is multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, flexible and enlightened.
        Unlike you, Mr. Inconvenient Truth, I do not spend my time obsessing over Indians and staring down a one-dimensional tunnel.
        You must know, my friend, neurosis is one disorder but it can progress to psychosis.

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